Trusts are known to cut costs in their schools wherever possible as year on year they battle with inflation. However, this of course comes with the risk of unsustainable deficits with the annual budget constantly pressured with issues such as pupil numbers, staffing levels and building maintenance.
How should the trust resolve this? There are an abundance of suggestions which range from reducing school lunch portions to the school and its’ pupils raising money for itself rather than local charities…all which seem absurd to anyone who has worked in the education sector.
There are two angles trust leaders are now approaching this with. Should the cuts directly affect students or staff? Of course, indirectly less staff or unhappy staff will have negative results on students. Unhappy students will of course lead to stressed out staff and all of this is before you even consider what the parents will have to say.
With that being said, this week a primary school in Reading, who have just been awarded ‘Good’ by Ofsted, are in the midst of battling a trust planning to cut both staff and their working hours by up to 25%. The redundancies are planned on happening to support staff both immediately as well as in the future. Currently the GMB union is doing what it can to prevent this happening, but would you want to continue working somewhere you knew you were at risk? This is seen to be happening increasingly across the country despite unemployment being the lowest in a while. No doubt the possibility of it happening too close to home sits in the back of the minds of many teachers and support staff. (If you think this could affect you now or in the future, please feel free to get in touch to see how we can help.)
Overall it is not only school support staff who are at risk, experienced and highly skilled teachers may also face pay cuts or even redundancies within some trusts that are struggling with their schools’ budgets. But as in Reading, a school which has turned itself around from ‘Requires Improvement’ in 2016 to most recently ‘Good’, why fix something that isn’t broken? Is the risk of making such dramatic change worth the consequences that may follow?